Ahead of his final farewell entrance at Survivor Series, the Undertaker contemplates over his 30 years in the WWE/WWF ring.
In an industry where many individuals come and go and only few go-on-to make a mark, it is difficult to fathom what the Undertaker has carved out in his long career. From a young man, who had to show fortitude in the face of uncertainty, to a globally recognised personality, Undertaker is the quintessential symbol of exception.
His 30 years of service is a matter of huge celebration for WWE, and in light of that the Phenom is set to make an appearance this Sunday, on the Survivor Series Pay-Per-View, to render an official farewell to the WWE Universe. While emotions may run deep on one end, it will highlight one of the biggest truths of mankind on the other- Every good thing must come to an end.
Undertaker On His Farewell Speech
In an interview with Yahoo sports, Mark William Calaway expressed what it was like to live the character of the Undertaker for 3 decades, and in a nutshell also gave account of some intriguing instances which seemingly hold a special place in his memory.
“I don’t think in our industry, these kinds of careers don’t happen often,” Calaway said. “It was kind of hard to imagine going for 30 straight years with one company. You don’t envision that when you first start out. You hope you can catch on a little bit, have a run, build momentum where if you have to go somewhere else, like Japan or another promotion you are in good shape. I never planned on going back to WCW once I got to WWE, but I knew Japan and other places, I could have built a strong name and maybe go back and forth.”
In-ring Feud With Hulk Hogan
Mark was a heel in his initial years in the promotion, but despite that, he was receiving incessant crowd support. The 55-year-old reflected on the same, and threw light on how overwhelmed he was, when he saw that he was spectators’ favourite during his feud with Hulk Hogan.
“That was a fast year. It all happened really fast and then I got the word at Survivor Series, my one-year anniversary, that I am going to be wrestling the golden goose and I’m going to be world champion. It was amazing. A year into this thing, I’m still looking at myself kind of as a greenhorn. That’s how it was back then. I had only been in the business for about four years and here I am, wrestling one of the biggest legends our industry has ever seen and I’m going over. It was really surreal.”
“You’re nervous, then when you do the walkout that night it threw me off because it was like 60-40 the crowd was behind me. I was the babyface. Here I am trying to be this killer, this scary dude, and you come out and the crowd is leaning toward you. You have to put that out of your mind so you can do business and be what you’re supposed to be, but it was amazing.”
The greatest storyline in professional wrestling history
During the span of 30 years, The Deadman was a part of innumerable storylines, however, he picks the one with Kane and Paul Bearer as the most memorable out of the many. He even goes on to say that his work alongside Glenn Jacobs (Kane) and the late William Moody (Paul Bearer) is the greatest storyline in professional wrestling history.
“Although I had wrestled some giants up until that point and I had these dragons that I had to slay, none of them really matched up like Kane did. You have this over-the-top character in the Undertaker, but now he has a brother? It was over the top, but there was a real kind of connection that people could identify with. If you have a sibling, you understand sibling rivalries, but now it’s on an entirely different scale. You have one who throws lightning and the other creates fire. It was part reality, part supernatural, almost comic book story. I will always say it is the best story that WWE has ever told.”
On The Inevitable Farewell
Mark ruminates upon the idea of continuing, and though he does not want to separate himself from what he is passionate about, but upon realizing that he isn’t the same as he was a few years ago, he just want to leave for good.
“I think a lot of people saw this invincible character and what this year has done is given an air of vulnerability to me. It really wasn’t my original goal, but I do think it encapsulates how important it was for me to be the Undertaker for our fans. From the time that we start the doc, I think it shows what it took me physically to go out and honor that. That was the gist of where we took the story, how important it was for me to go out and perform and it was a natural segway into the person.
“I still have the passion to do it, I wish I could do it forever,” Calaway said. “When I watch the shows or I’m there live, the juices start flowing and I feel like I have to get ready to go out and perform. The reality of the situation is that I’m not physically able to perform at the level I want to perform at. I could go out there and cash in on all of the equity I’ve built up over 30 years, but I can’t deliver physically what I think people pay money to see the Undertaker do.”
Farewell At Thunderdome
It is a misfortune that the WWE’s biggest superstar would give his final bit on the mic not in front of an endless ocean of fans, but in the presence of some digital transponders, however, Callaway isn’t too shaken by this fact, in fact he terms it as a respite from not showcasing, what otherwise would have been a burst of emotions.
“It’s going to help me considerably, getting through Survivor Series emotionally,” Calaway said. “I’m sure it’s going to be moving and it’s going to have its moments, but it would have been extremely hard for me to come out in front of an arena full of people and address them in any way at this point. I made fun of Flair for boo hooing and crying when he came out and did his speech. I think I have a little more of an appreciation now as it faces me. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep it together and not kill off the gimmick completely.”
Thoughts About His Own Career In Brief
“No matter what was going on in my life, I just want people to understand that I took the responsibility of being that character and bringing that character every week seriously. Maybe there are some in my life that would say I took it too seriously and damaged relationships and wasn’t there.
“But I know that people were paying hard-earned money and a lot of times were having to scratch and claw to bring their kids to wrestling. I never took that for granted. I hope people understand and appreciate that.”
With this heartfelt expression, Undertaker concluded the interview, and is now set to make his final entrance this Sunday.
As an in-ring competitor he might not show up again, but his name will always reverberate around that 4-sided closed figure, and for his fans the character is immortal and the only bearer of- Then, Now, Forever.
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